The vintage adage which says ‘home is the best’ could just be some theoretical axiom for Zimbabweans who returned from neighbouring South Africa and Botswana amid indications that the returnees are now faking their identities to dodge authorities and sneak back into the neighboring Sadc countries where economic opportunities are abundant.

The state media reported that some returnees that are being deported from South Africa and Botswana have been claiming to be from Matabeleland South Province so that they are not transferred to their native provinces and have easy access back into the neighbouring countries.

As part of Zimbabwe’s lockdown measures, returnees that are coming in through the Plumtree and Beitbridge Border Post are taken to quarantine centres in the province where they are tested for Covid-19.

Matabeleland South is the country’s southernmost province and is home to Beitbridge and Plumtree border posts.

Now, the Zimbabweans who were living in the neighboring countries cannot contend with living in their own motherland and authorities have begun engaging the Registry Department in the pursuit of identifying those faking their identities to remain in Mat South and find their way back to South Africa and Botswana.

“A number of returnees have proved to be untrustworthy as they have been providing us with false addresses. There are some who claim to have lost their National Identity cards and then give us fake ID numbers, addresses and names and claim to be from Matabeleland South Province. We have been experiencing this mostly with those returnees that would have been deported and not those coming back voluntarily,” Matabeleland South provincial social welfare officer Criswell Nyakudya told the state media.

“After the returnees have completed their quarantine period they are transported to their respective provinces. Those who pretend to be from Mat South will be doing so in order to avoid being transported to their provinces so they can remain in Matabeleland South where they have easy access back to Botswana and South Africa,” Nyakudya said.

He also added that they have since roped in the Registry Department which is now checking the particulars of the returnees.

“If a returnee doesn’t have an ID and they supply our officers with an ID number and place of origin the officers from the Registry Department can confirm whether that particular ID number matches the district of origin. Every returnee that says is from Matabeleland South is now subject to this screening in order to avoid such incidences,” he said.

On the other hand, Matabeleland South provincial medical director, Dr Rudo Chikodzore said the Ministry of Health and Child Care has since rolled out an electronic record system in the province to facilitate capturing information of returnees.

According to Dr Chikodzore, the information will facilitate in the planning and aligning processes with plans of training quarantine and isolation teams in various districts on how to use the system.

“In the long run we will have it linked to other systems to ensure it’s authentic. The main advantage is that this system will reduce the load of paper work and duplication of information. Some of the information is recorded at the point of entry and is also recorded at the quarantine and isolation centres,” she said.

state media
Additional Reporting: Zwnews